2019 Traveller Hot (Food) List: Our pick of the world's best restaurants, bars and dishes and more

A year of good food. Twelve months of tasty cuisine. It doesn't sound bad, does it? And that's the hardship our writers have suffered through as they've sought to take the world's gastronomic pulse once again.

Welcome to the Hot [Food] List, Traveller's annual summation of global food trends, of the restaurants, the bars, the wineries, the tours, the cruises, the hotels, the neighbourhoods, the cities and the countries that have delighted our senses and inspired joy over the past year.

Some of these entries are classics that continue to impress; others are up-and-comers that are bringing something new and exciting to the global scene. All, however, are contributing to the pleasure of travel for those of us who love to eat.

These inspiring entries don't have to be expensive, though some certainly fall into the luxury category. They don't have to be particularly stylish or innovative either – though again, there are plenty here that  fit that bill. The key to a great gastronomic experience in any country, at any price-point is heart, soul, honesty and passion.

And that's what we've looked for. A simple plate of food can, after all, say so much about the person who cooked it, and so much about the place they've come from. Food is culture, it is history, it is pride and it is ambition. It is, in short, one of the world's great pleasures, and one our great passions.

We've spent 12 months sampling the best of it. We hope you spend the next 12 sharing and enjoying our discoveries and making your own, too. - Ben Groundwater

WINE REGION

SAALE-UNSTRUT, GERMANY

With its scenic valleys and terraced vineyards watched over by ancient castles, Saale-Unstrut is a secret that Germany's wine lovers want to keep to themselves. Not far from Leipzig, the country's most northerly wine region is home to about 40 mainly family-run wineries that can be explored by car, by bike or even by boat. Along with traditional dry whites, winemakers are increasingly producing quality reds. Try a tasting at Weingut Herzer or the Freyburg winegrowers' association. See saale-unstrut-tourismus.de/en weingut-herzer.de winzervereinigung-freyburg.de

NEIGHBOURHOOD

BEAUPASSAGE, PARIS, FRANCE

Want to knock over some of France's most acclaimed gastronomic names in one hit? Head for Beaupassage, a plant-filled, open air, courtyard passage opened in the heart of the Left Bank in 2018, where France's finest have been tasked to do more ''everyday" versions of their gastronomic arts and crafts. Hence, Allenotheque​, a new wine bar from the acclaimed chef Yannick Alleno​; healthy lunchtime bowls at Daily Pic from Anne-Sophie Pic; a casual cafe from macaron maestro Pierre Herme; an artisanal bakery by Thierry Marx; and street seafood from Mersea by chef Olivier Bellin. Trust the Parisians to take the idea of a food court and turn it into a chic destination in its own right. 53-59 Rue de Grenelle, 7 th. See beaupassage.fr

RESTAURANT

LA DAME DE PIC, RAFFLES HOTEL, SINGAPORE

One of the world's leading female chefs with a total of seven Michelin stars to her credit, Anne-Sophie Pic's dishes are defined by their "aromatic complexities, flavour combinations and powerful tastes". Now Pic, in her latest restaurant outing, has injected new culinary verve into the slightly stuffy, recently refurbished Raffles Singapore hotel. Pic's degustation menu at her off-lobby contemporary French restaurant, La Dame de Pic – her first outing in Asia – is an imaginative triumph with surprising drink pairings such as tables wines and fine sakes from Japan. It's a high-brow, high-cost experience in an elegant high-style room but sans any of the usual Gallic gastronomic pretensions. See raffles.com/Singapore

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DISH

REDCURRANT FOREST FRUITS TART AT CHEZ GERMAINE, AUBRAC, FRANCE

France in spring comes with an abundance of berries, often transformed into "tartes aux fruits rouges". A particularly delectable one can be found in the village of Aubrac, perched on Aveyron's high Aubrac plateau, a way station for Camino pilgrims. Three generations have passed on recipes at Chez Germaine on Aubrac's main Place de la Fontaine et des Fetes. Their wild fruit tart is a tangy concoction of redcurrants, blackberries and blueberries and will sustain any pilgrim en route to Santiago de Compostela. See tourisme-aveyron.com

RESTAURANT

ARSTIDERNA, MALMO, SWEDEN

Avsedd för Näringsliv. Fördjupning om lyxrestauranger i Malmö-Köpenhamn. Restaurang Årstiderna på Stortorget.
Sataug10cover  ARSTIDERNA, MALMO, SWEDEN
Housed in a vaulted brick cellar in Malmo’s fine medieval building, the Kocksa Huset off the main square, Stortorget, Arstiderna produces Swedish cuisine using local, seasonal produce.SUPPLIED http://www.malmotown.com/en/press/image-bank/credit: Jenny Leyman

Photo: Jenny Leyman

Housed in a vaulted brick cellar in Malmo's fine medieval building, the Kockska Huset​ off the main square, Stortorget, Arstiderna produces Swedish cuisine using local, seasonal produce. Expect dishes such as herb-baked fillets of reindeer or local duck with chanterelles. This is not the cheapest, but consider the three-course set menu ($90). Currently on the menu Swedish toast Skagen (shrimps, dill mayo and vendace roe), slow-baked trout and roe with asparagus and cauliflower, then ice-cream with summer berries, poppyseed meringue and cream. See arstiderna.pieplowsrestauranger.se/

REGION

BASQUE COUNTRY, SPAIN

Is there a region more obsessed with cuisine than the Basque Country of northern Spain? Is there anywhere else that defines itself so readily by its cuisine; that enjoys such an embarrassment of Michelin-starred riches, where world-famous names such as Arzak, Mugaritz, Etxebarri, Azurmendi and Akelarre​ exist within minutes of each other; that boasts such an incredible volume of affordable, accessible, high-quality dining establishments? Surely not. If you love food, this is paradise. See tourism.euskadi.eus

DISH

HASSELBACK POTATO, BARR, COPENHAGEN

"To hasselback'' is to cut a potato in thin parallel slices without going completely through, then baking it with lashings of butter until golden. It's the star dish at Barr, housed in an atmospheric old whaling warehouse in Copenhagen, where it comes oozing with creme fraiche and caviar. Thorsten Schmidt's menu is drawn from the eating and drinking traditions of northern Europe, so follow with crumbed pork schnitzel, and a salad in which you hand-pick your own baby cucumbers from a whole lettuce, and match with beer, aquavit or natural wines. Strandgade 93, Copenhagen. See restaurantbarr.com

RESTAURANT

POINT LEO RESTAURANT, MORNINGTON PENINSULA, VICTORIA

The winery's two-hatted restaurant, Laura, tends to get all the love, but we're here to sing the praises of its little sister. The bistro-style Point Leo Restaurant is a much more relaxed venue but there are no shortcuts taken with the food. Bring a bunch of friends so you can graze your way through all the heavy-hitters on the menu, from wallaby pies to the stand-out Dutch carrot souffle. See ptleoestate.com.au

DRINK

PORT ON THE ROCKS, PORTO, PORTUGAL

Port aficionados already know their ruby from their tawny. But in a newly heretical move, the traditional port houses of Porto, such as Crofts, or the Portuguese-owned Pocas established in 1918, are luring the millennial drinker with promises of a lighter, pinker, port. Their pretty, pale pink, rosé port is light and berry-fresh without being overly sweet, demolishing port's fusty slippers-and-cigars image with every sip. Serve over ice, or spritz with a splash of tonic. See pocas.pt

NEIGHBOURHOODS

LITTLE MALOP STREET, GEELONG

sataug10cover Little Malop St, GeelongSUPPLIED https://contenthub.visitvictoria.comGeelong Cellar Door, Little Malop St

The beating heart of Geelong – its dramatically old/new arts precinct, where the soaring honeycombed dome of the Geelong Library merges with the sculptural Performing Arts Centre and the historic Geelong Gallery – is now the eating heart of Geelong as well. Just metres away in Little Malop Street is a traffic-free laneway in which to drink and dine, with fun ramen at Sober Ramen, robata grills at Sumi, fried chicken and natural wines at Hot Chicken Project, fiercely local wines at Geelong Cellar Door, exemplary coffee at Cartel Coffee, craft beer and meatball at Big Ears and live music at Workers Geelong. It's the new eat beat. See gpac.org.au

TOUR

BASQUE TOURS, SPAIN

Want to have lunch at a members-only gastronomic society? Want to eat a traditional paddock-to-plate meal in a Basque farmhouse? Want to enjoy a private visit to a family-run txakoli winery in Getaria? There's only one way to make these things happen, and that's with local who has the right connections. Noemi Lekube​, a tour guide from Basque Tours, is that local. See basquetours.com

TREND

AUSTRALIANS IN NEW YORK, US

Feel like a flat white, sausage roll, or all-day breakfast? Then head for New York, baby, and check out all the Aussies bringing a little touch of Down Under sunshine to the Big Apple. Australian-owned cafes such as Ruby's, Little Collins, Brunswick, Flinders Street, Bluestone Lane, Two Hands, Toby's Estate and the all-pink Carthage Must Be Destroyed from Amanda Bechara of Alexandria's Bread and Circus, mean you're never too far from a lime-drenched crushed avocado on toast. New for 2019 is Surry Hills' Bourke Street Bakery (the sausage roll takes Manhattan), Marrickville's acclaimed Coffee Alchemy from Hazel de los Reyes and Clare Lim, and Peppi's Cellar from Restaurant Hubert's Jason Forte, where the negroni is made with Australia's Four Pillars gin and Regal Rouge Wild Rose. See peppiscellar.com

DISH

CEVICHE AT LA CASITA, BRUNSWICK HEADS, NSW

La Casita suits Brunswick Heads. It's a little roadside cottage, open to the elements, fired by wood and wreathed in smoke, with bare feet, cold beer and natural wines never too far away. And while there's nothing new about ordering ceviche in a Mexican restaurant, the ceviche at this hot, hot Northern Rivers Mexican cantina (from the crew behind the tiny, two-hatted Fleet) is something else again – not fish, but fresh, plump, local oysters marinated in mescal on a dice of cucumber and watermelon rind. See lacasita.com.au

CITY

LISBON

The Portuguese capital was once known for pasteis de nata, the famous sweet tarts, and little else; however, Lisbon has been undergoing a foodie renaissance over the past few years, with a slew of high-quality, cosmopolitan eateries emerging. Check out Belcanto, holder of two Michelin stars, recently crowned No. 42 on the 50 Best list. Or try Bairro do Avillez​, a sprawling emporium of impressive cuisine. And that's just the beginning. See visitlisboa.com

FOOD SHOP

J. H. & M CHOAK TRADITIONAL CORNISH PASTIES, FALMOUTH, ENGLAND

As you walk up the hill towards J. H. & M Choak​ in the charming seaside village of Falmouth in south-western England, pretty much everyone you meet coming down is clutching a rather large Cornish pasty. Blame the Choak family, who have been making Cornish pasties to the same traditional recipe since 1948. They're meaty, using top quality beef skirt, and are chock-a-block with vegetables, with a real, peppery undercurrent. Order the Classic, because nobody should muck around with a Cornish pasty. See choakspasties.co.uk

CITY

LOGRONO, SPAIN

Logrono is the capital of the La Rioja region, and the city has a thriving tapas culture all of its own. Many of the tiny bars along the famed Calle de Laurel  serve only one dish – say, a tower of grilled mushrooms on a slice of bread, or an egg yolk wrapped in pastry and flash-fried – designed to match the local wines, and to be eaten on the run. It's buzzing, it's delicious and it's fun. See lariojaturismo.com

NEIGHBOURHOOD

HIGHLAND PARK, LOS ANGELES, US

Forget Beverly Hills or Santa Monica, this low-key hangout in Los Angeles' unexplored north-east is the best new spot in the city for foodies in the know, with everything from hipster vegan cafes to the best pizza restaurants in southern California. Find them along Figueroa Boulevard, though don't be afraid to turn off the main drag and dig deeper. See discoverlosangeles.com

RESTAURANT

CLOUDSTREET, SINGAPORE

Rishi Naleendra was born in Sri Lanka, cooked at Sydney's Yellow and Tetsuya's, and opened Cheek by Jowl in Singapore in 2016, winning a Michelin star. Now he has the restaurant of his dreams, a 40-seat degustation fine diner in Singapore's hottest food street – Amoy Street. With a bold, transparently open kitchen at its very heart, this is a contemporary interpretation of both his own background and Singapore's multicultural heritage, married with a very Aussie love of the charcoal grill. The Sri Lankan yellow curry of binchotan-grilled WA marron with millet is the taste of Singapore right now. See cloudstreet.com.sg

DISH

SMORREBROD AT PALAEGADE, COPENHAGEN

"We are a team of young fresh minds, but our hearts beat for classic Danish cooking." So reads the website of the restaurant that has set a whole new benchmark for Danish smorrebrod, or open sandwiches. Former head chef of the venerable Restaurant Schoennemann, Karina Pedersen, heads a talented team redefining Copenhagen's favourite lunch. Don't miss the herring with crisp-crumbed egg; liver pate with bacon and pickled beetroot; and the soaring feat of engineering that is the pile of sweet little shrimp on toast. See palaegade.dk

RESTAURANT

SICHUAN MOON, MACAU

Sataug10cover SICHUAN MOON, MACAU Former three Michelin star chef Andre Chiang is about to change all that with his luxurious new fine-diner, Sichuan Moon, in a gold-and-cream dining room adorned with an exquisite chandelier of 700 Murano glass butterflies at the splendiferous Wynn Palace Cotai in Macau.

China's fascinating regional cuisines have long been ignored by the major global restaurant guides. Former three Michelin star chef Andre Chiang is about to change all that with his luxurious new fine diner, Sichuan Moon, in a gold-and-cream dining room adorned with an exquisite chandelier of 700 Murano glass butterflies at the splendiferous Wynn Palace Cotai in Macau. Dining here is a major commitment of both time and money as you journey through 32 courses, from an elegant Sichuan hot-and-sour soup dotted with precisely 15 drops of chilli oil, to hand-made noodles pulled from the spout of a teapot. See wynnpalace.com

MUSEUM

FRITES MUSEUM, BRUGES, BELGIUM

The world's first – and so far, only – museum devoted to the humble potato chip, is housed in a splendid 14th-century building known as the Saaihalle, in downtown Bruges.When you've had your fill of picturesque canals, black swans, winding streets and cobbled squares, head here for a slow walk through history, from the origins of the potato in Peru, to all manner of chip-making paraphernalia. Like all single-subject museums, it is slightly hysterical, but ends by being quite fascinating. (Skip the fries in the cafe though, and head back out to the streets for fries alfresco). 33 Vlamingstraat, Bruges. See frietmuseum.be

RESTAURANT

O PITEU DA GRACA, LISBON, PORTUGAL

If you always wished you had a Portuguese grandmother, this is the restaurant for you. O Piteu da Graca is a classic, no-frills Lisbon eatery that does simple, traditional food and it does it extremely well. You can't go past the grilled sole, served with boiled potatoes and sauteed greens. Like O Piteu itself, it's far greater than the sum of its parts. See restauranteopiteu.pt

DISH

PIPIT'S BAY LOBSTER WITH HONEY AND GARLIC, POTTSVILLE, NSW

Earlier in 2019, Ben Devlin of the two-hatted Paper Daisy at Cabarita Beach, packed his bags and travelled all of seven kilometres south to Pottsville, where he set about redefining what he calls Australia's "coastal cuisine". That means no beef or lamb; just a focus on sustainable seafood and locally grown vegetables, in a breezy, informal, dining room open to the village's main street. Star of the show is a glazed and grilled bay lobster (Moreton Bay bug), that comes with broad, flat ribbons of potato cooked in buttery whey. See pipitrestaurant.com

RESTAURANT

BELON, HONG KONG

This oh-so-precise little jewel box of a French bistro is racing up the charts. Gifted young British chef Daniel Calvert has worked in London, New York and Paris – and now Hong Kong, opening Belon in 2015 with the Black Sheep restaurant group. His perfectly pitched cooking has a luxurious contemporary spin (the white asparagus and oscietra caviar dish is beamed directly from heaven). In 2019, it gained its first Michelin star and came in at No. 15 in Asia's 50 Best Restaurants Awards, making it HK's hardest restaurant to get into. Put it to your concierge as a test. See belonsoho.com

TOUR

KOREAN BREW, SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA

Everyone is familiar with Japanese sake, but the Korean rice wine makgeolli is a mystery to most. The Insadong Taster Tour run by the Sool Company ("sool" meaning alcohol in Korean) introduces visitors to this popular drink, going to three very different makgeolli bars in the atmospheric back streets of a historic Seoul neighbourhood. With tasty food and funky decor in the mix, it's a refreshing night out. See thesoolcompany.com

RESTAURANT

PRINCELY WINERY, LIECHTENSTEIN

To eat like a king in Liechtenstein, you can start by drinking like a prince. The Hofkellerei des Fursten von Liechtenstein, otherwise known as the Princely Winery, has a scenic location above grapevines in the sleepy capital, Vaduz. Tastings and cellar tours are available, or you can simply enjoy the wine with a meal at the winery's bistro, or at its fine-dining restaurant Torkel with mountain views. See hofkellerei.li

DISH

SOLITARY RAMEN, FUKUOKA, JAPAN

Ramen is a serious business in Japan, and even more so in the outlets of Ichiran. On entering, the diner orders a serve of Fukuoka's famous Hakata ramen from a vending machine, tailoring the ingredients. Then the noodle dish with its slow-cooked pork broth is delivered from behind a screen to your seat in a solo alcove. Sit, slurp, and contemplate the infinite as you enjoy the flavour. See ichiran.com

RESTAURANT

WESTWARD, SEATTLE, US

sataug10cover  text by Ute Junker; SUPPLIED via journalist ; WESTWARD, SEATTLE - Perched on the shores of Lake Union, Westward has a dedicated oyster bar as well as a daily selection of ocean-fresh seafood. Don’t forget to order some veggie sides fresh from the woodfired oven. westwardseattle.comNo specific caption information provided.

Seattle is not a dress-to-impress kind of place. So although Westward is known not only for its superb seafood but also for the best view in town, it's perfectly fine to rock up in a fleece. Perched on the shores of Lake Union, Westward has a dedicated oyster bar as well as a daily selection of ocean-fresh seafood. Don't forget to order some vegie sides fresh from the wood-fired oven. See westwardseattle.com

RESTAURANT

CASA JULIAN, TOLOSA, SPAIN

Since 1954, Casa Julian, a traditional Basque eatery in the northern Spanish town of Tolosa, has been serving one dish: steak. Sure, there are a few starters and a couple of desserts, but the main menu consists solely of beef. It's also some of the best in Spain, possibly even the world, cooked over fire by passionate chefs in charming surrounds. See casajulianmg.com

BREAKFAST

HOTEL LA ROUTE D'ARGENT, NASBINALS, FRANCE

French breakfasts are generally simple affairs – bread with jam and coffee. This unpretentious establishment, however, serves a breakfast fit for pilgrims, which is good as it sits on a major pilgrim route – the Le Puy Camino. Expect a feast of orange juice, Aubrac cheeses and "charcuterie de pays", croissants, all-you-can-eat baguettes, butter, jam, bottomless good coffee, hot chocolate or tea. From Nasbinals it's a steep climb onto the Aubrac Plateau, so this fortifying €9.50 repast is pilgrim gold. See bastide-nasbinals.com/

RESTAURANT

PODVORYE, ST PETERSBURG, RUSSIA

What does a man like Putin do for his birthday? He comes here, to the log-house restaurant billed as the most authentically Russian in Russia, to feast on massive portions of hearty local fare such as borsch, beef stroganoff and roast elk. It's all washed down with vast lakes of vodka to Russian folkloric tunes and songs, with the audience given musical instruments to join in. Kitsch? Absolutely. But fun? Enormously. See podvorye.ru/

CAFE

FYNKOS, KIRSTENBOSCH BOTANICAL GARDENS, CAPE TOWN,

SOUTH AFRICA

This much-loved-by-Capetonians cafe-restaurant in the upper part of Kirstenbosch offers Pamela Shippel-Granoth's fresh home-cooked breakfasts, lunches and teas. Tourists often use the lower carpark, happening upon the lower restaurants first. But it's worth heading further uphill to Fynbos. Dishes include Pamela's beef bobotie, Cape pickled fish, salads, cakes, scones, good coffee, Callebaut Belgian hot chocolate, and, yes, it sounds weird, but the famous anchovy toast – balls of whipped butter and anchovies melting into wholegrain toast with a fresh salad. See ktr.co.za/

REGION

LA RIOJA, SPAIN

Spain's most famous wine region offers the chance to visit classic vineyards in spectacular terroir, that also feature some of the most interesting modern architecture around. There's Bodegas Ysios, with its stunning, wave-like cellar; Vina Real, which looks like a Bond villain lair; Baigorri, with its glass tower overlooking the vines; and the Frank Gehry-designed  Marques de Riscal. See lariojaturismo.com

RESTAURANT

CANDLENUT, SINGAPORE

From an early age, Malcolm Lee was taught the traditional Peranakan cooking of the Malay Straits by his Nyonya mother. Now he has elevated those classic dishes to a whole new wine-friendly level in the only Peranakan restaurant in the world to win a Michelin star, Candlenut, housed in the classy Como Dempsey restaurant precinct. Lee makes all his rempahs (spice pastes) from scratch, and the care shows in a scorchy, spicy lamb neck satay; a rich, creamy yellow coconut curry of blue swimmer crab; and turmeric and Tiger beer-battered prawns with a green sambal hijau. See comodempsey.sg/restaurant/candlenut

AIRLINE

AIR FRANCE, TAIPEI TO PARIS, BUSINESS CLASS MEALS

Airline food, even in business, can be unlovely – pre-cooked, chilled, stodgy, altitude-dulled. Air France uses quality, simple ingredients for unusually elegant, fresh dishes from Michelin-starred "grands chefs". My lunch, for example, is a delicate, zucchini-wrapped salmon tartare and chicken roulade "a la truffe", a glass of Taittinger, a clean, crisp salad, perfectly sauteed beef with cepes sauce au vin and steamed vegetables, a 2015 bordeaux, then a perfect slice of roquefort and excellent coffee. See airfrance.com.au/‎

RESTAURANT

SLATE, CLARE VALLEY, SOUTH AUSTRALIA

*** ONE TIME TRAVELLER USE ONLY ****** NO REUSE ***sataug10cover - Pikes Winery - Slate restaurant - Clare Valley SAMANDATORY photographer credit: Daniel Blackman
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Photo: Daniel Blackman

First there was the on-site brewery, then a new tasting room; now Pikes Winery has upped the ante even further with its superb Slate restaurant. The sleek interiors feature native stone and timbers, and chef Max Stephenson's menu uses local ingredients in sophisticated dishes such as buttermilk-marinated lamb with spiced grains, kale, smoked eggplant and puffed rice. Seafood fans will love the hotpot with carrot puree and saffron broth. See pikeswines.com.au

LODGE

OMAANDA, WINDHOEK EAST, NAMIBIA

Namibia isn't a foodie destination, but the Ambo Delights restaurant at Omaanda, one of Namibia's newest and most luxurious lodges, could change that. Set in an exquisitely styled hut overlooking the savannah and helmed by Belgian chef Annelie Maes, the focus is on local produce and game meats. The Omaanda breakfast, an egg hidden inside a seasoned meat ball, served on house-made spicy baked beans, is almost as sensational as the dinner menu's oryx steak with mieliepap and ratatouille. Their edge-of-the-world gin bar is where you'll be between game drives. See zannierhotels.com/omaanda.

BREWERY

THE PEARL DISTRICT, SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS

A reimagined late-1800s brewery spanning 16 city blocks, the hip Pearl District has become San Antonio's culinary hub. Home to 19 restaurants and cafes, including the meat-focused Cured set inside the brewery's century-old administration building, it also houses a new food hall, the Culinary Institute of America, and a twice-weekly farmers market. You'll likely end up eating almost all of your San Antonio meals here. See atpearl.com.

RESTAURANT

ALKIMIA, BARCELONA

Jordi Vila's super-modernist, six table Alkimia restaurant pushes the boundaries of Catalan cooking.

Photo: Albert Mollon

Press the buzzer on the door of what looks like a historic apartment building on a busy Barcelona street, and it will mysteriously click open. Go up the darkened stairs as if to somebody's apartment, and you have arrived at one of the most provocative restaurants in Barcelona. Jordi Vila's super-modernist, six table Alkimia restaurant pushes the boundaries of Catalan cooking by combining traditional techniques with a Japanese aesthetic – such as the much-loved "pa am tomaquet'' of tomato-smeared bread coming as nigiri sushi. See alkimia.cat

BRASSERIE

LE NORD, LYON, FRANCE

In Lyon, France's gastronomic capital, the first brasserie the late, great Paul Bocuse opened in 1994 still holds its own. The Michelin chef's menu features the classics of the "cuisine de tradition Lyonnaise et Alsacienne". Fresh, seasonal dishes include Lyonnaise sausage pistachio brioche, Burgundy snails with parsley butter, coarse-grained andouillette sausage (if you dare – made with pork or veal intestines) and a gorgeous seared beaujolais beef fillet served with spinach and tiny, seasonal roasted potatoes. See brasseries-bocuse.com

DISH

NORWEGIAN TAPAS, BRYGGEN, NORWAY

Housed on Bergen's UNESCO heritage-listed Bryggen wharf, Bryggen Tracteursted​ could be a tourist trap. Instead it offers wonderful, curious "smakfulle smatterier" – Norwegian and Hanseatic-inspired tapas. Small, delicate dishes include reindeer tartare with Aquavit marinated egg yolk, King Oscar sardines with tomatoes and olives, Kattemat (catfood!) stewed cod cheeks, Aquavit marinated smoked salmon, Pinnekjott salted dried ribs of mutton, spiced herring, and, rather confrontingly, smoked whale with pickled vegetables and horseradish. Desserts include the charming spiced apple "veiled peasant girls". See bryggentracteursted.no

RESTAURANT

SIBILLA, TIVOLI, ITALY

Looking for the perfect day trip from Rome? Then hop on a train to Tivioli and spend an hour or two wandering around the beautiful Villa d'Este estate. When you are ready, stroll down to the nearby Sibilla restaurant, where you can gaze out over the ruin of a Roman temple as you dine. After your lunch – we recommend the squid stuffed with asparagus – take a post-prandial stroll to the nearby waterfalls. See ristorantesibilla.com

RESORT

STREET FOOD NIGHT, FOUR SEASONS RESORT THE NAM HAI, HOI AN, VIETNAM

Every Thursday, the magnificent Four Seasons The Nam Hai throws a street food night, a fun and delicious (not to mention perfectly safe) entree into Hoi An's street food scene. Traditional food carts illuminated by lanterns line the pool, each offering an exquisitely executed local dish. Think steaming bowls of bun bo hue spicy beef noodle soup, crispy stuffed rice flour banh xeo pancakes, and barbecued skewers of pork, beef, chicken and calamari. See fourseasons.com/hoian.

BAR

MIDNIGHT COWBOY, AUSTIN, TEXAS

Set on Austin's anarchic Sixth Street, guests enter this reservations-only speakeasy using a secret buzzer marked "Harry Craddock" (a renowned 1920s bartender). Inside the narrow former brothel with its pressed tin ceiling and booth seats, bartenders wheel the drinks cart to your table to craft exceptional cocktails in front of you. Try the Afrikan Rif, a potent mix of rum and Moroccan spices, or the Rayon de Soleil, blending yellow chartreuse, golden vermouth and black lemon. See midnightcowboymodeling.com.

AIRPORT

SORA SUSHI, OITA, JAPAN

Take everything you think you know about food and flip it on its head. In Japan, airports have excellent, high-end cuisine. Case in point: Oita, a tiny domestic hub on Kyushu island, which is the surprising host of a famed sushi restaurant, Sora. Japanese celebrities have been known to fly from Tokyo to Oita just to eat here. The horse mackerel nigiri is some of the best in the country. Well worth a stopover. See oita-airport.jp

MARKET

ST-JEAN-DE-LUZ FARMERS MARKET, FRANCE

Every Tuesday and Friday, the southern French coastal hamlet of St-Jean-de-Luz buzzes with activity as farmers sell their wares from small stands outside the permanent Les Halles. What makes this market special is the quality of the local produce, which is incredibly high, with everything from cheese to bread to fish to vegetables to charcuterie sold direct from the source. See st-jean-de-luz.com

RESTAURANT

BA'THELI, MILAIDHOO ISLAND, MALDIVES

Ba'theli​ restaurant on elegant Milaidhoo Island is the archipelago's only Maldivian fine-dining restaurant, set in a recreated traditional dhoni boat jutting out into the lagoon. It doesn't get much more bucket-list than sitting on the deck at sunset, eating elevated versions of local dishes such as mashuni (coconut and tuna salad) and coconut milk poached fish and shellfish with island spices, while watching eagle rays feed in the water below. See milaidhoo.com

RESTAURANT

LA PLAGE, ASHWEM BEACH, GOA, INDIA

With its quirky artworks, umbrella-topped tables set in the sand and excellent music, La Plage is a favourite among Goa's style set. But it's the superb French fusion food (created by the French chef owners) that really sets it apart from the other beach "shacks'' lining Ashwem beach: think rare tuna with wasabi mashed potatoes or a luscious steak tartare, washed down with chilled rosé and followed by a dip in the ocean. See facebook.com/pages/La-Plage

TRADITION

CATALAN CALCOTADA, SPAIN

It happens every winter in the hills of Catalonia, as the calcots – long, sweet onions – come into season, and the celebrations of this unique ingredient begin. A "calcotada" is all about the roasting and the devouring of those onions, but it's also about the drinking of wine, the singing of songs, the time spent with family, and the preservation of Catalan culture. And it's absolutely delicious. See calganxo.com

STREET FOOD

HONG LIM COMPLEX, SINGAPORE

This local-favourite hawker centre might not have the fame of Maxwell Centre or Tiong Bahru, but it does feature a few excellent versions of Singapore's best street food. Don't miss the killer noodles at Outram Park Fried Kway Teow, the equally delicious pork version at High Street Tai Wah Pork Noodle, the laksa at Sungei Road Trishaw Laksa, or the award-winning wantons at Ji Ji Wanton Noodle Specialist. See visitsingapore.com

RESTAURANT

MAITENIA, CIBOURNE, FRANCE

This small, charming restaurant in Ciboure, a French-Basque village near the Spanish border, represents everything that's great about local cuisine. Maitenia serves as few as two entrees and two mains a day, dishes that utilise fresh produce bought from across the river in St-Jean-de-Luz, or direct from the trawlers that land nearby, cooked with minimum fuss, and paired with local, natural wines. See maitenia.com

RESTAURANT

COLLINE EMILIANE, ROME

Ordinarily it would be a crime to order tagliatelle alla bolognese in Rome – this is not a local dish. However, Colline Emiliane is a restaurant whose heart and whose culinary traditions lie in the northern Italian region of Emilia-Romagna, which makes eating its delicious food – Bologna's famous pasta sauce, as well as tortellini in brodo, cotoletta, and prosciutto – perfectly acceptable. See collineemiliane.com

DISH

LOR MEE, SINGAPORE

Lor mee is the Singaporean dish you've never heard of but need to try. This Chinese-Malay soup is notable for its thick, rich gravy, which is served with flat yellow noodles, a fish cake, a boiled egg, fresh coriander and chilli, and – best of all – "shark nuggets", hunks of battered, deep-fried fish. Try it at Lor Mee 178 in the Tiong Bahru hawker centre. See visitsingapore.com

DRINK

JEREZ, SPAIN

Though its popularity is waning on the global scene, jerez, or sherry, is still very popular in Andalusia, and it's a complex and tasty drink worth getting to know. Work your way from fino sherry, the driest variety, to the likes of the darker, richer amontillado, the round and slightly sweet oloroso, and the elegant, sweet pedro ximenez. And do it at Las Teresas, a character-filled sherry bar in Seville. See andalucia.org

RESTAURANT

THE COCONUT CLUB, SINGAPORE

Its name and location – on Ann Siang Hill near Chinatown – make the Coconut Club sound like a tourist trap, but this friendly eatery is serving up a seriously good version of classic Malay nasi lemak. Every element is top-notch: the fragrant coconut rice, the chicken fried with lemongrass, galangal and turmeric, the perfectly fried egg, and the best chilli sauce in town. Save room for the cendol for dessert, too. See thecoconutclub.sg

NEIGHBOURHOOD

SAN GIOVANNI, ROME

San Giovanni is a formerly shabby, working-class area of Rome that is still, admittedly, shabby and working-class in some parts; it's also, however, making a name for itself as a foodie hub, with a spate of high-quality restaurants and wine bars opening. Legendary pizzaiolo Stefano Callegari is churning out pies at Sbanco, chef Sarah Cicolini is cooking arguably Rome's best carbonara at Santo Palato, and Taberna Recina focuses on slow food paired with local wine. See turismoroma.it

RESTAURANT

CAOBA FARMS, ANTIGUA, GUATEMALA

Walk through Antigua's cobbled laneways to the outskirts of town and you'll find this bucolic gem, set in the outdoor gardens of an organic farm. The produce used in their salads, sandwiches, pizzas and organic juices is pulled from the farm, and the bread is made in-house. There's regular live music, a Saturday farmers market selling locally made products (the cacao wine is fantastic) and a small shop selling kombucha, raw chocolate and more. See caobafarms.com

DISH

GELATERIA LA ROMANA, VERONA

What is the perfect gelato flavour? It's probably pistachio, an absolute classic. Or is it? Just wait until you visit Gelateria La Romana, an old-school gelateria that features such distinctly modern combinations as ricotta, fig and caramel gelato, and white mascarpone with wild "fragoline" strawberries. We might just have a new champion. See gelaterialaromana.com

DINER

VALOIS, CHICAGO, US

A favourite haunt of former US President Barack Obama, this Chicago institution is among the best places in the city for a no-nonsense, inexpensive slap-up breakfast or hearty lunch. Breakfast classics include anything from steak and eggs, pancake stacks or omelets, while rotating lunch specials consist of blue-collar staples such as beef liver and onions, classic goulash, steaks and more. Service is blunt, fast and ruthlessly efficient. See valoisrestaurant.com

HOTEL

NUEMA, ILLA EXPERIENCE HOTEL, QUITO, ECUADOR

Hidden inside the new 10-room Illa Experience hotel in Quito, Nuema is an intimate restaurant specialising in Ecuadorian cuisine by chef Alejandro Chamorro​ (who worked at Noma and Astrid y Gaston) and his wife and pastry chef Piedad Salazar​. The talented couple combine traditional recipes and ingredients with modern techniques to create a spectacular degustation menu of contemporary Ecuadorian cooking. See illaexperiencehotel.com

DISH

SUNDAY ROAST, THE ABBEVILLE, LONDON, ENGLAND

This village style gastro pub in Clapham serves one of the best Sunday roasts in the city. Using all free-range pork and chicken as well as beef aged in-house, the dishes are paired with classic English staples such as Yorkshire pudding, apple sauce, bread sauce, roasted potatoes, fresh vegetables and rich, dark gravy. Combine this lavish feast with a traditional English bitter and you'll never poke fun at Anglo cuisine again. See theabbeville.co.uk

STREET FOOD

JALAN ALOR, KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA

Forget the soulless, airconditioned food courts, the good stuff can be found at Kuala Lumpur's best loved eat street in the heart of the city. Comprising hundreds of different hawker stalls, restaurants, coffee stands and more, this is a hub for adventurous foodies who want to sample local specialties and delicious dishes at comparatively cheap prices. While a few venues open during the day, Jalan Alor really comes alive at night. See visitkl.gov.my

DISH

FRESH CRAB ROLLS AND CHOWDER, SPUD POINT CRAB CO,

CALIFORNIA

The folks at this unassuming crab shack on the California Coast understand that quality ingredients speak for themselves. Their crab roll served on a soft bun is a simple blend of picked crab meat lightly seasoned with a homemade sauce, no unnecessary toppings piled up. Consequently, you can actually taste the freshness of the star ingredient and when paired with their earthy New England style white clam chowder, it's almost impossible to beat. See spudpointcrabco.com

RESTAURANT

BRITISH COMFORT FOOD, TEA AND SYMPATHY, NEW YORK CITY, US

Established in 1991, this delightful New York nook specialises in all time British classics. Favourites include shepherd's pie, Welsh rarebit, bangers and mash as well as fiendishly good deserts such as sticky toffee pudding or baked rhubarb crumble with custard. If you're looking for lighter fare, the fresh baked scones and clotted cream washed down with a simple cup of builder's tea are the finest you'll find outside Britain. See teaandsympathy.com

HOTEL

SACHA LODGE, AMAZON, ECUADOR

Peruvian chef Julio Avendano​ spent six months working with local indigenous groups to introduce more Amazon ingredients and recipes to the menu at Sacha Lodge, a stunning property on a 2000-hectare ecological reserve in the heart of the Ecuadorian Amazon. The result is a lavish twice-weekly buffet lunch of Amazon produce including yucca soup, palm hearts, grated plantain, smoked pork and steamed catfish. See sachalodge.com

RESTAURANT

EDGE, NIYAMA, MALDIVES

Located half a kilometre offshore from Niyama Private Islands Resort in the Maldives, this spectacular floating restaurant is only accessible by boat. Arrive in time to savour a sigh-inducing ocean sunset with a glass of champagne, then settle down to an alfresco five-course seafood extravaganza featuring oysters with Kristal caviar, crab gratin dusted with truffle and succulent lobster wellington with miso lemon sauce. See niyama.com

RESTAURANT

PUESTO, SAN DIEGO, US

Mexican food rarely gets the acclaim it deserves. Puesto aims to change that. Utilising fresh, locally sourced ingredients and preparing everything in-house, this innovative eatery in the former San Diego Police Headquarters and its flagship property of six restaurants in California has elevated the humble taco to gourmet status. Standout combinations include the fillet mignon taco with spicy pistachio salsa and the smoked tuna taco with a tangy manzano pepper and corn sauce. See eatpuesto.com

SUPPER CLUB

PARADISE CLUB, NEW YORK

More than just a restaurant, this intimate venue inside the new Times Square Edition Hotel is a glamorous revival of the New York supper club. While guests enjoy a six-course sharing menu featuring oysters and nachos with caviar, an immersive burlesque theatre experience unfolds around them. Once the show's over, the tables are cleared away and the space morphs into a sophisticated nightclub. See editionhotels.com

BAR

HIGH NOTE SKYBAR, ARIA HOTEL, BUDAPEST, HUNGARY

Voted No. 1 hotel in the world by TripAdvisor in 2017, this gorgeous music-themed property's trump card is a stunning rooftop bar with gasp-inducing views of the city and St Stephen's Basilica. Featuring a split-level design with two private terraces accessed by spiral glass staircases, it's particularly enchanting at night when the space morphs into a romantic haven of twinkling lights. See highnoteskybar.hu

SNACK

ENGLISH MUFFIN BURGER, R17, NEW YORK, US

Sometimes it's the most unlikely pairings that work the best. At R17, a new rooftop bar in the Seaport District overlooking the East River, they've wedged a dry-aged prime mince burger topped with cheddar cheese and green chilli mayo between two handmade English muffins. The result is a revelation – a succulent snack-sized burger with a subtle hint of spice. See r17nyc.com

RESTAURANT

PRONTO, LAS VEGAS, US

The latest venture from Emmy-winning chef Giada De Laurentiis plugs a glaring gap in Vegas' culinary repertoire – the stylish, affordable grab-and-go eatery. Located inside Caesars Palace, Pronto offers a tempting range of freshly made paninis, platters and pastries plus speciality brews by Counter Culture Coffee and more than 40 wines by the glass. Highlights include the lemon ricotta cookies and a dangerously quaffable grapefruit mimosa. See caesars.com

BAR

SUBSIX, NIYAMA, MALDIVES

Submerged six metres beneath the surface, Subsix is an underwater bar located a short speed boat ride from Niyama Private Islands Resort. After descending a chandelier-lined staircase, guests can enjoy a Deepwater daiquiri while parrotfish and groupers glide past floor-to-ceiling windows. Featuring funky sea anemone-inspired seating and a shell-covered ceiling, the venue is an atmospheric setting for the resort's weekly glow party. See niyama.com

TOWN

GETARIA, SPAIN

The Spanish port town of Getaria has only 5000 residents, and yet it plays host to the 30th best restaurant in the world (the seafood eatery Elkano, according to the latest 50 Best list), as well Kaia Kaipe, a seafood joint that has earned Michelin's "plate" rating, plus a hugely popular and easily accessible pintxos bar scene, all set around cobbled old-town streets with ocean views. There are few better places to spend a hungry evening.See tourism.euskadi.eus

STREET FOOD

FISH CUTTER, CUZ'S FISH SHACK, BRIDGETOWN, BARBADOS

The recipe for this traditional Barbados beach snack is deceptively simple: take a crusty Bajan salt bread roll and fill it with a fried fillet of freshly caught marlin and salad, then smother it in mayo, barbecue or hot sauce. It's sold all over the island, but ask anyone and they'll invariably recommend Cuz's Fish Shack near Bridgetown. See cuzsfishshack.restaurantsnapshot.com

BAR

CONNIE, TWA HOTEL, NEW YORK, US

The standout feature of the new TWA Hotel in New York's JFK Airport is Connie, an intimate cocktail bar located in a refurbished 1958 TWA Lockheed Constellation Starliner. Sink into a generous armchair-style seat, sip on a martini with a swizzle stick and enjoy a nostalgic soundtrack of classic '60s tunes by the likes of Frank Sinatra and Petula Clark. See twahotel.com

BREWERY

NEWSTEAD BREWING COMPANY, QLD

Brisbane's craft brewery scene continues to evolve with the Newstead Brewing Company opening a second brewpub in Milton, conveniently located opposite Suncorp Stadium. Newcomers will enjoy the easy-drinking Golden Ale and Session Ale while more intrepid suppers will appreciate Newstead's experimental brews, such as the toe-curling 9.2 per cent barrel-fermented double red. A glass-fronted production facility means you can watch the brewers in action. See newsteadbrewing.com.au

DRINK

TIPSY SNOWMAN, FOUR SEASONS, WHISTLER, CANADA

An Instagram sensation, the Tipsy Snowman is an adorable snowman made out of marshmallows who comes propped up in a mug of hot chocolate spiked with a liqueur of your choice (we recommend Baileys or Frangelico). Served from a cute retro 1960s campervan parked next to the Four Seasons' outdoor firepit, the drink sets a new benchmark for apres ski indulgence. See fourseasons.com/whistler

WINE REGION

NAGANO, JAPAN

Who knew Japan produced wine? It turns out the Nagano prefecture on the main island of Honshu has quietly been making excellent wines for years. You'll find refreshing sparklings made from the lesser-known ryugan grape, fruity sauvignon blancs, delicate sangioveses and rich, full-bodied merlots. Comprised of four high-elevation wine-producing valleys, the area has more than 30 wineries, many of which offer tours and tastings. See nagano-wine.jp/english

DRINK

JAMBU CACHACA, BRAZIL

Cachaca is the distilled sugarcane spirit in Brazil's national drink, the caipirinha. Feeling adventurous? Try it infused with the mildly anaesthetic Amazonian jambu leaf. At first, you'll feel some tingling on your lips and tongue, then a sudden rush of saliva and finally an explosion of saltiness as it shuts down three of your four tastebuds. Sample it on an Eat Rio food tour. See eatrio.net

TOUR

EAT RIO FOOD TOUR, RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL

Led by Lonely Planet writer Tom Le Mesurier, this entertaining tour showcases traditional Brazilian cuisine in parts of Rio few tourists visit. Expect to sample a mildly anaesthetic Amazonian soup, a bouncy tapioca pancake and a cinnamon-dusted Portuguese egg custard tart. The tour concludes with a hearty three-course feast of north-eastern cooking including mashed cassava and coconut shrimp stew. See eatrio.net

RESORT

TREE RESTAURANT AT SIX SENSES KRABEY ISLAND, CAMBODIA

Former Saffire Freycinet chef Todd Adams has run off to the jungle to headline the restaurant of the glamorous new resort on a gloriously green island off Cambodia. He's using ingredient from local farmers and his own organic farm as well as freshly caught seafood to serve a modern Khmer take on traditional dishes, including coconut-poached free-range chicken and a tangy lime and pomelo Cobia crudo, all eaten with drop-dead views of the ocean. See sixsenses.com

TOUR

CYCLING GIN SAFARI, LONDON, UK

It's tempting to think of the current gin obsession as a new craze but it's nothing compared to the drink's popularity in London during Victorian times. Learn more on this entertaining gin-themed cycling tour around the lesser-known suburbs of Bermondsey and Southwark. Along the way, you'll visit a 1000-year-old food market, London's largest street art gallery and, of course, sample plenty of gin. See tallyho.cc

RESTAURANT

AL TERRACE, SOUQ WAQIF, DOHA, QATAR

The best Lebanese feast outside Beirut is served daily in Doha, either inside, in the moody dark interior, or outside on a sunny alfresco terrace next to the sights and sounds of the market. Try it on a Qatari stopover and order the stunningly nutty hummus Beiruti with fava beans, paprika and chopped pickles, and the monstrous mixed grill with the lamb kofta, shish taouk and lamb kebab. See tivolihotels.com/en/

HOTEL

MELEA, PALACE GATE HOTEL, PHNOM PENH, CAMBODIA

A favourite of Australian Geraldine Cox, the saviour of so many local orphans, this fine-dining restaurant has both top-line French fare and Cambodian dishes done with real flair. Many of its herbs and vegetables are picked from the hotel's rooftop, the only organic garden of its kind in the country. It's a serene setting for sampling specialities such as Mekong river lobster in lemongrass liquid with organic fresh herbs and lime juice. See mealeapalacegate.com/

TOUR

HELI-PUB CRAWL, BRISBANE, QLD

This is one of many food and drink-themed tours offered by Pterodactyl Helicopters from its base in Kholo, 35 kilometres west of Brisbane. Led by the affable Captain Mike, Pterodactyl can create a tailored itinerary that includes visits to character-filled country pubs, wineries, luxury retreats such as Spicers Hidden Vale and lesser-known destinations such as Summer Land Camel Farm (try the milk – it's amazing). See pterodactylhelicopters.com.au

RESTAURANT

IVY BRASSERIE IN ST JOHN'S WOOD, LONDON

Character, atmosphere and fab food – and for not too much cash at all, a rarity in London these days. There are art deco interiors, bird paintings everywhere and three-course set lunches for just £21. Go-to dishes include blackened cod fillet, baked in a banana leaf with a soy and sesame marinade, served with citrus-pickled fennel, grilled broccoli, chilli and yuzu mayonnaise and a gorgeously gooey chocolate bombe. See theivystjohnswood.com

CITY

DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA

Cape Town is an obvious gourmet destination, but Durban's the secret you should discover. The largest Indian city outside of India, try Indian-fused street food, like samosas (samoosas) and Durban's iconic Bunnie Chow – a quarter-loaf of bread hollowed out and filled with curry. The largest city in the Zulu kingdom, try shisa Nyama (barbecued meats), while afternoon teas are mandatory at Durban's colonial-era hotels. See visitdurban.travel/

RESTAURANT

MANHATTAN BEACH POST, LOS ANGELES

Got a few hours to kill before that 10.50pm flight home from LAX? Manhattan Beach, a 15-minute drive away, is LA's most under-rated beach-side address and offers travellers one last Californian sunset; and one last wholesome dinner on share plates from a Michelin-starred chef at communal tables amongst exposed rafters and a whole lot of reclaimed timber. See eatmbpost.com

CITY

CHICAGO, US

NY used to take the glory as America's top food city, but no more. Chicago is now the US's best restaurant city (ranked by culinary bibles like Bon Appetit), with its finest restaurants, like Alinea, ranked inside the world's top five. But it's not just fancy fare, Chicago serves the country's best burgers at gastro pubs, while city icons such as deep-dish pizza and Chicago dogs are the stuff of legends. See choosechicago.com

RESTAURANT

HAVEN, SIEM REAP, CAMBODIA

Food that tastes good and makes you feel great is the order of the day at this training restaurant for vulnerable and underprivileged young people from orphanages, shelters and poor rural areas. The service might be a tad slow, but it's heartfelt, as diners eat everything from chef's pork ribs to banana flower salad and banana crumble with mango sorbet at tables around a leafy courtyard basking in a beautiful ambience. See havencambodia.com

BAR

BAR WA IZAKAYA, NORTH HOBART, TAS

Not so long ago a dinner out in Hobart meant either a steak, or Chinese. Not any more, especially in north Hobart which looks more Brooklyn than backwater. While some of the most lauded restaurants have taken to charging accordingly, Bar Wa Izakaya brings a Japanese gastro-pub to Tasmania, while keeping prices down and the vibe relaxed.There are two bars to eat at, or dine alfresco on Hobart's long summer nights. See barwaizakaya.com

RESTAURANT

LABART, BURLEIGH HEADS, QLD

One of Sydney's most innovative chefs, Alex Munoz (ex-Monopole and Cirrus Dining) packed his bags and moved north to start his first restaurant. He didn't go to Byron Bay, or Noosa; instead he saw the potential on the Gold Coast, creating a cute Parisian-style 60 seat-restaurant in the middle of Burleigh Heads. Book ahead. See restaurantlabart.com.au

NEIGHBOURHOOD

WAN CHAI, HONG KONG

Once most famous for its red light district, Wan Chai is gentrifying fast, becoming one of Hong Kong's best underground foodie 'hoods. In a city with the highest ratio of restaurants to eaters on Earth, isn't it nice to think there's still a secret food hot-spot? Michelin-starred secrets hide between cheap noodle joints, beside some of the best rooftop bars in Hong Kong. See discoverhongkong.com/au

DISH

HAMAMATSU EEL, JAPAN

The Japanese town of Hamamatsu sits right beside a large lake that just happens to be Japan's No. 1 location for farming freshwater eels. This highly prized seafood is sent around the country, but it's also prepared to perfection at many of Hamamatsu's restaurants, which cook them in both the Tokyo style (steamed then grilled) and the Osaka style (just grilled), served over rice in traditional lacquerware boxes. See jnto.org.au

RESTAURANT

BAMBU RORAS, BALI, INDONESIA

Does Bali even do Balinese food any more? Wander the streets of Canggu or Seminyak and you'll find cuisine from every other country on Earth … but Bali. But new restaurant, Bambu Roras, serves quintessential Indonesian cuisine in a secret temple in the middle of Kuta – an oasis from the T-shirt hawkers. Sample the satay chicken, and finish with padan crepes with coconut and palm sugar. See bamburoraskutabali.com

NEIGHBOURHOOD

WEST LOOP, CHICAGO

Chicago was voted the No. 1 food and drink city on Earth in a poll of 34,000 people in 48 cities by Time Out magazine, and the No. 1 food neighbourhood nominated was the West Loop. Formerly a no-go zone, it's now wall-to-wall with bars, restaurants and cafes run by the city's most innovative entrepeneurs, with a new eatery opening weekly. See choosechicago.com

NEIGHBOURHOOD

YANAKA, TOKYO

One of Tokyo's more traditional districts, Yanaka still has an old town atmosphere because its buildings were spared the bombing which destroyed many parts of the city during World War II. It's also Tokyo's culinary secret. In a city regarded as the world's best food destination, Yanaka is still to be discovered by tourists, meaning you'll find inexpensive restaurants where only locals eat. See gotokyo.org/en/

CRUISE

PONANT, FRANCE

Take a gastronomy cruise through provincial France to the towns where your dishes originate from. Itineraries are planned to visit regions with celebrated food histories, and you'll eat dishes whose ingredients all come from the area, prepared by French chefs. Take a cruise through the Treasures of Brittany, or explore French wine on a Vineyards and Gastronomy tour. See en.ponant.com

NEIGHBOURHOOD

BURLEIGH HEADS, GOLD COAST, QLD

The best meal at Burleigh Heads used to come with chips at the local surf club. Now it's the Gold Coast's best restaurant zone. Walk up hidden laneways to the Coast's best new restaurants like Iku Yakatori or Restaurant Labart, or sit a few metres above the waves at Queensland's No. 1 rated eatery, Rick Shores, or next door at Burleigh Pavilion. See destinationgoldcoast.com.au

AIRLINE

TASTE OF SWITZERLAND PROGRAM, SWISS AIR

Fly first or business class with Swiss Air and you can eat from the Taste of Switzerland program. The menu changes every three months, and is selected by a guest chef who must have a restaurant in Switzerland with Michelin stars and Gault Millau points. See swissair.com/ch/en/

CITY

SANTIAGO, CHILE

Think of food cities in South America and it's Lima and Buenos Aires that come to mind. Santiago never got a look in, until now. But there's a culinary renaissance going on, led by Santiago's incredible seafood, caught off its 4000 kilometre-plus coastline. And there's fine dining options that rate among South America's Top 10 restaurants, and the whole city barbecues come summer – a sensation for the nose. See chile.travel/en/

NEIGHBOURHOOD

BOTAFOGO, RIO, BRAZIL

Rio has  never been highly regarded as a food destination – but now Botafogo is changing the way the world feels about the city's restaurants. Cheap rents have attracted a wave of innovative young chefs and new-age entrepeneurs to create some of Brazil's most unusual bars and restaurants. Get creative. See visitbrasil.com

BAR

CLOUD NINE, FIJI

There are far hipper bars in the South Pacific – but what can really be better than a two-level floating platform bar anchored in the middle of a blue-water lagoon that serves pizzas straight out of a wood-fired oven to wash down your Fiji Bitter? Book a 40-minute speedboat transfer from Port Denarau and spend your day at play. See cloud9.com.fj/

AIRLINE

NATIONAL AIRLINE SERVING NATIONAL FOOD, AIR INDIA

No airline's food has undergone a larger transformation than Air India's. Its food was infamous – greasy chunks of unknown meats served in oily curries only those with cast-iron stomachs should risk. But in the past five years, they've introduced a lighter offering of India's most iconic national dishes – especially on Dreamliner flights from Australia's east coast. See airindia.in

LODGE

MAYLANDS LODGE, NEW TOWN, TASMANIA

Although you're staying in one of Hobart's grandest old mansions (built by colonial architect, Henry Hunter) with all the old-world grandeur of the late 19th century, there's an intimacy to eating at lodge restaurant, Deodara. Chefs grow, then forage, ingredients in the gardens outside, and the cosy setting is the ideal environment for a paddock-to-plate menu which changes with what's available each weekend. See maylandslodge.com.au

RESTAURANT

THREE BLUE DUCKS, W HOTEL, BRISBANE, QLD

The first foray into hotels for Bronte (and Byron) chef/ restaurateur team, Three Blue Ducks, this collection of surfing chefs bring their laid-back coastal vibe and sustainable, paddock-to-plate fundamentals to Brisbane, at the city's first new five-star hotel in 20 years. There's Michelin training in their pedigree, but dining isn't about three-hour-long degustation dinners, it's local produce served in simple dishes.See threeblueducks.com.au

CRUISE

DELFIN 1, PERU

Cruise down the Amazon from Iquitos on a luxury boat with just four suites and a restaurant whose decor changes entirely with every meal, that's rated within the top 10 of Peru's best restaurants. Enjoy classic Amazonian dishes such as patarashka – fresh fish marinated in tomato and onion sauce, wrapped in local bijao leaves all amongst fine crystal, sparkling china and romantic candlelight. See delfinamazoncruises.com

WHAT WE DO AND DON'T WANT TO SEE IN RESTAURANTS

CAN WE HAVE MORE OF ..

SLOW-FOOD RESTAURANTS

Four-hour lunches that take days to prepare? Yes please. Slow food is good food, which is something travellers are beginning to appreciate, setting aside as much time for a lovingly prepared meal as they would for a museum visit or walking tour. 

CUCINA POVERA

Cucina povera is Italy's "food of the poor" – traditional recipes that extract the most flavour from humble vegetables and cheap cuts of meat – and it's surging in popularity, making its way onto restaurant menus not only in its homeland, but across the world, with off-cuts and comfort foods gaining popularity in France, in the UK and in the US, among others. 

FEMALE CHEFS AND WINEMAKERS

From Dominique Crenn (Atelier Crenn in the US) to Elena Arzak (Arzak in Spain); from Virginia Willcock (Vasse Felix in Margaret River) to Maria Larrea (CVNE in Rioja) – women are blazing a food and wine trail across the world in these traditionally male-dominated industries, and we'd love to see more of it. (And fewer condescending awards like 50 Best's "Best Female Chef".) 

PRODUCE-DRIVEN CUISINE

Plenty of chefs around the world are forgetting what's trendy and ignoring the temptation to tinker with too many gels and foams, choosing instead to concentrate on what's fresh and local. It's the perfect approach. 

VENISON

Why does every half-decent New Zealand restaurant have it on the menu, but it's almost impossible to find in Australian restaurants despite it having more protein than any other red meat and more iron than beef? 

FOOD BLOGGER RUNNING TOURS

In Rome and in Barcelona, in Dubai and in Singapore, and in so many other cities, local food bloggers have begun running their own walking and tasting tours, which are a great way to discover new local eateries you might otherwise have missed. 

CHEAPER WINE

Australia produces some amazing, world-class wine, but there aren't many bargains out there. In the likes of Portugal, South Africa and even Argentina, meanwhile, you'll find many examples of high-quality wines that are eminently affordable, even in the best restaurants. 

AUSSIE CAFES OVERSEAS 

Australian-style cafes are popping up everywhere in the world, either owned by Aussies or influenced by them, serving great food and even better coffee. We selfishly hope this trend keeps going, so we can order a decent flat white and smashed avo no matter how far we roam.

COOKING CLASSES FOR THOSE WHO CAN ACTUALLY COOK

Plenty of people want to take a cooking class while they're travelling, to gain an insight into the local cuisine and take a few new skills home with them. However, most classes are pitched at those who don't know a lot about cooking. We would love to see more classes for those who can already do the basics and want to learn more.  

NON-ALCOHOLIC DRINKS 

We can't all imbibe – some of us have to drive, or we're pregnant and Australians are abstaining from booze like never before (26 per cent of Australians don't drink at all), so Wouldn't it be good to see restaurants offer non-drinkers a lot more than water, soft drink or tea?

INDIGENOUS PRESENCE 

The Australian Indigenous culture is the oldest on Earth (65,000 years and counting) – so why can't Indigenous dishes (or best of all: Aboriginal dishes cooked by Aboriginal chefs) be a much bigger part of the Australian culinary landscape? 

LEGITIMATE AND HEALTHY KIDS' MEAL OPTIONS

Adults can eat food from every country's cuisine on Earth in Australia; yet their kids still must choose between chicken and chips, spaghetti Bolognese or fish and chips. Isn't it time restaurants let kids eat healthy too?

KANGAROO

Australia has two kangaroos for every person: wild kangaroo levels have become unsustainable and yet the meat (which has less than two per cent fat) of culled kangaroos is being wasted because of  lack of demand.

FREE SNACKS AND DRINKS IN THE MINI-BAR

With the rise of boutique hotels in Australia, hotel groups are beginning to understand that when we pay hundreds – even thousands – of dollars a night for a room, it's insulting to be charged $10 for the packet of chips we consumed, or $15 for a local beer that's $3 at the local bottle shop. 

BAR DINING

Bar dining is ideal for those dining solo (and let's face it, there's plenty of us), and it gives couples and groups an opportunity to make dining out a bona fide social event.

DETAILED MENUS

Almost every restaurant on the planet now claims it's "farm to table" or "plate to paddock". So prove it. Don't just tell us the name of the places you're sourcing key ingredients from, tell us where they are and what makes them sustainable so we can make informed decisions about what to order. 

BETTER FOOD IN ECONOMY

It's clearly possible to serve tasty, nutritious food on planes (they do it in business class all the time), so how about some of that love in Economy? We don't need five courses, tablecloths and fancy silverware, just a healthy main meal that's not an endurance test in blandness. 

WATER FOUNTAINS

You try and do the right thing by carrying a reusable water bottle but then spend hours searching for somewhere to fill it up. We'd like more bubblers please, in cities, shopping centres and particularly in airports so we can refill our bottles after passing through security.   

LOCAL FOOD AT AIRPORTS

How depressingly infrequent is it to find an airport with authentic, local cuisine rather than the same handful of global fast food chains? Here's a thought: if you offer decent dining options people can't find elsewhere, passengers may actually want to hang out there. 

PORTION CONTROL

Bigger isn't always better. Wouldn't it be great if more restaurants offered half-size portions (particularly in the US where the average appetiser could feed a family of four)? Not only would it reduce food wastage, but it would also mean a group could share several dishes rather than everyone being lumbered with a towering mountain of food.

Contributors: Anthony Dennis, Jill Dupleix, Terry Durack, Ben Groundwater, Ute Junker, Nina Karnikowski, Rob McFarland, Tim Richards, Alson Stewart, Craig Tansley, Guy Wilkinson, Sue Williams.

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